My Hero Academia’s Dabi and Jujutsu Kaisen’s Maki Zenin are both neglected by their family because of their inability to wield certain powers.
Both My Hero Academia‘s Toya Todoroki, also known as the villain Dabi, and Jujutsu Kaisen‘s Maki Zenin are hurt by their respective families for not possessing a coveted technique. But while one succumbs to evil as a result of their mistreatment, the other rises above.
The familial turmoil of Shoto’s brother Toya Todoroki revolves around his father, the recently promoted number-one hero Endeavor, on account of how he raised Toya and his siblings. Endeavor’s unorthodox methodologies spawned from an obsession to sire a child who would be able to wield his Hellflame quirk more effectively than he could, for he was unable to unleash the full fury of Hellflame without drastically burning himself in the process. His solution was to marry a woman named Rei specifically for her ice quirk in the hopes that one of his children would be blessed with both powers and use their mother’s ability to cool the raging inferno of Hellflame.
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Endeavor used to spend most of his time devoted to his eldest son Toya when he was born, hoping that he would be able to coax his wife’s icy powers out of him. But upon the birth of Shoto with his Half-Cold Half-Hot quirk, Endeavor essentially tossed Toya aside. Unable to deal with the rejection, Toya attempted anything and everything to be accepted by his father, an extreme feeling of neglect that was exacerbated by the fact that he had once been a major focus of his father’s attention. Toya tried so hard to regain his father’s love that, one night, he accidentally engulfed himself in flames, a horrific fate everyone believed killed him, but only led him to becoming the villain Dabi.
In Jujutsu Kaisen, a Jujutsu Sorcerer named Maki Zenin was treated like a slave by the Zenin Clan because of her inability to wield the clan’s coveted Jutsushiki technique, Ten Shadows, since she possessed little to no cursed energy. Instead, she had been blessed with supernatural speed and strength, which only made matters worse as the Zenin shunned these abilities. But rather than fight for their love and attention, Maki became so disgusted by their mistreatment of her that she exiled herself from the clan and vowed to overthrow them.
The “departure” of each child resulted in very different responses from their respective families. While Endeavor fell into a deep depression, believing that his actions killed his first born son, the Zenin Clan actively sought to prevent Maki from advancing as a Jujutsu Sorcerer. In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, Sorcerers are able to advance by grade levels, which allows them to exorcise stronger curses and receive higher compensation. But because of Maki’s defiance, the Zenin Clan kept her at a lower level. And if, for whatever reason, Maki miraculously had a change of heart and decided to return home, she would never be accepted, as anyone who is rejected by the Zenin Clan can never redeem themselves.
The only question left is if Maki could have suffered the same fate as Toya in My Hero Academia. A great deal of what caused Toya to break was the sudden shift in his father’s attention growing up, from first receiving the lion’s share of it before losing everything once Shoto was born. Toya had already experienced years of Endeavor training with him, so when he lost it, Toya desperately tried to bring it back, and essentially killed his innocence and goodness in his pursuit thereof by becoming Dabi. Conversely, Jujutsu Kaisen‘s Maki never received that kind of love from the Zenin Clan, as she was always forced to perform arduous, menial tasks for her not possessing cursed abilities. Is it possible that Maki could have sought her clan’s love if her lack of cursed power was not discovered until much later in life? Perhaps. But the fact that Maki Zenin did not lose any love means that she did not have to stoop to the same levels as Toya Todoroki did in order to win it back.
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